Carnival and football in the summer, holidays in the winter – Mayor Depla calls for a change in habits – Foodlog

“What if we celebrate Carnival in the summer from now on, since the chance of a new wave of corona infections in that season is smaller?” Had Paul Depla, mayor of Breda, come up with this suggestion in previous years, he would probably have crossed the provincial border with a stick. But now the reaction was: well, why not?

In an interview in de Volkskrant (4.7) Depla (PvdA) outlines what is lacking in government policy with regard to the corona crisis and how, in his view, it should be done.

Depla is chair of the Social Impact COVID-19 Committee of the Association of Dutch Municipalities. According to him, the Netherlands must go through a transition to become more resilient to the corona crisis. “A feeling of despondency is starting to settle in society more and more. At the start of the crisis, we still saw a lot of resilience among citizens, companies and organizations. All kinds of creative solutions were devised to make meetings and activities possible and to raise money. can continue to earn. But now the stretch seems to be gone. People have become mellow. They are no longer even going to demonstrate, but are withdrawing.”

Depla attributes part of this despondency to the fact that the cabinet has taken the approach to the corona crisis very closely. In the beginning, the message was ‘together we will fix it’, but now it is becoming more and more: only the government gets corona under it. That makes people apathetic. Depla: “The corona crisis is increasingly becoming a crisis of authority,” with local administrators becoming an executive body of the state and losing connection with currents in society.

Depla envisions that at the local level, representatives of social organizations and professional sectors, together with administrators and scientists, will forge plans that encourage the Dutch to let go of their current habits and structures. In the long term, because corona will continue to play a role for a long time to come. Depla: “The virus will get mutations and because large parts of the world are not vaccinated yet, it will continue to come our way. So we can hope that this crisis will be over soon, but it is not.”

If such a long-term strategy is not forthcoming, Depla foresees “everywhere idleness”. Volunteers – such as the carnival association – who drop out, young people who stop playing sports, exodus in the cultural sector, sports clubs that go bankrupt. “Then you shouldn’t be surprised if the despondency in the country turns into anger.”

According to Depla, the main question is whether people will be open to the alternatives. “We will have to think very differently about how we organize our lives. Take the school holidays. The summer holidays now last six weeks and the Christmas holidays two. You could move in there, knowing that the risk of contamination waves is greatest in the winter. If such a wave occurs, you will not immediately be faced with a dilemma in which you have to weigh the pressure on care against the educational effects for children. Or take the cafes and restaurants. They are now putting all the balls on the holiday month of December. Should we not start thinking with them about other revenue models?There are countless options.Shouldn’t we offer discotheques the opportunity to organize parties outside, because otherwise the club culture threatens to disappear completely?Shouldn’t we create more opportunities for recreation to increase in domestic holidays? And what about the football competitions? Wouldn’t it be better to play them from March to October?” If these kinds of considerations find a breeding ground, they can be facilitated, organized and regulated. If people do not want it, then “it is their own responsibility if corona throws a spanner in the works.”

Such an approach requires guts from local administrators, Depla realizes. “But if you shy away from that, you can count on the virus to make the decisions for you later.”

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Carnival and football in the summer, holidays in the winter – Mayor Depla calls for a change in habits – Foodlog

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